Shea butter has a multitude of natural healing benefits. Anti-aging, stretch mark treatment, moisturizing, sun-protection, & anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, to name a few, but, did you know that you should be using unrefined shea butter to receive any of these benefits vs the refined kind?
What's the difference?
All shea butter is initially extracted from the African Karite (Shea) Nut tree.
Unrefined Shea Butter can either be extracted by hand using traditional West African methods, or with the use of a mechanical press to speed up the process. Both methods produce shea butter and shea oil without the use of chemicals or synthetics. The end product is known as unrefined shea, raw shea butter, or virgin shea butter and has the highest concentration of antioxidants, healing benefits and natural UV protection. It can range from beige to light yellow in color and has a slight naturally occurring smokey or nutty aroma. Unrefined shea that is bright yellow has an added root extract that gives it its deep golden color.
Refined, or ultra refined shea butter, is extracted and processed with high heat and chemical solvents such as hexane. It is usually pure white in color and contains no odor. Though refined shea may contain some moisturizing properties, most all of other healing benefits found in the original butter have been lost.
Nearly all mainstream products that use shea butter in their formula are made with refined or ultra refined shea butter due to its longer shelf life, pure white color, and lack of odor. It can also be easier to work with, having already been heated to high temperatures, refined shea doesn't get grainy when reheated. These products can be OK moisturizers, but they are a far cry from organic skin care.
How do you know if your product contains unrefined shea butter?
It should say so on the label. At Astrida Naturals all of our products are made with organic, unrefined shea butter and we love all the beneficial properties it transfers to our skin care line. We'd never consider any other!
Have you seen a difference in your skin since using unrefined shea butter?